CAIRO: A 93,000-ton cargo ship blocked the Suez Canal on Wednesday, stopping all transit of the waterway between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, a Suez Canal Authority official said.
Four tugs have been sent to re-align the Hong Kong-flagged Okal King Dor, which drifted at right angles to the canal about 10 kilometers (6 miles) south of the midway city of Ismailiya, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The ship was traveling north during a sandstorm when the incident happened at about 11 a.m. local time (09:00 GMT), the official said. It was not immediately clear what caused the ship to turn sideways in the canal, but the official said the high wind was a factor.
About 7.5 percent of world sea trade passes through the canal, which is 190 kilometers (120 miles) long and 300 meters (330 yards) wide at its narrowest, according to the Canal Authority.
The ships pass in convoys that take 12 hours to make the journey.
The canal is a major source of foreign exchange for Egypt. It earned $3 billion in 2004, when the average number of ships per day was about 47. AP